Applying English: a Panel on the Future of/in Applied English

Jessica NorledgeMMUb

The next generation of digitally augmented learning regards the inherent fluidity of the student experience as the fixed constant, around which course material and modes of delivery can adapt and flex. Unlike traditional web-based courses, which typically comprise ‘prescriptive’ (Garrison, 2011: 30), often static content and rigid core designs, Distance Learning provision for the mid-21st century must respond to the increasingly dynamic nature of students’ working lives, where portfolio careers are rapidly becoming the norm and lifelong education must adapt accordingly. As noted by Sànchez-Elvira Paniagua and Simpson (2018: 7-8), ‘in our current, enriched, complex and technologically mediated scenarios of teaching and learning, more than ever students will need to be conveniently empowered for a successful learning experience’, with systems and methods for online learning providing innovative and exciting opportunities that take students well beyond the boundaries of a three or four-year degree.

Constructing learning and teaching systems and environments for and with Distance Learners is, however, notably challenging, with face-to-face contact and synchronous discussions being harder to facilitate; with differences in time-zones impacting upon the organisation of live seminars; and with potential student numbers exceeding those of typical on-campus cohorts. This impacts not only on the traditional “academic” aspects of teaching and learning, but also on students’ access to peer communities and pastoral support and resources. This has been noted as perhaps the ‘greatest shortcoming’ of Distance Learning programmes to date (Garrison, 2011: 30), with isolation and problems of access creating and enforcing barriers for and between students (Neville, 2007: 54-55).

The School of English at Nottingham is uniquely positioned to deliver sector-changing and visionary international education which meets these pedagogical challenges, proposing a major re-imagining of augmented education in the untapped market of high-level postgraduate study. In autumn of 2020, we will be set to launch a new suite of tailored MA degrees for Distance Learning, which in placing student experience at their centre, will provide bespoke teaching opportunities, and project a defining new model for digital course delivery and global reach. These courses by design are multimodal, permeable, responsive, personalised, textured and contextually connected. Our panel will comprise six ten-minute presentations, each of which will centre of one of our guiding principles, reflecting our current thinking and pedagogical innovation and exploring the following key themes and topics:

  • Teaching linguistics and literature together
  • Technological advances in teaching English
  • English and work/life
  • EDI and accessibility
  • Teaching English at distance

Dr Rebecca Gregory (University of Nottingham)
Dr Carina Hart (University of Nottingham)
Emma Hutson (University of Nottingham)
Dr Martina McCarthy (University of Nottingham)
Dr Jessica Norledge (University of Nottingham)
Prof. Peter Stockwell (University of Nottingham)
Dr Paweł Szudarski (University of Nottingham)
Dr Anne Marie Williamson (University of Nottingham)


Garrison, R.D. (2011). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and
Practice, 2nd edition. London New York: Routledge.

Neville, L. (2007). The Personal Tutor’s Handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sànchez-Elvira Paniagua, A. and Simpson, O. (2018). ‘Developing student support for open
and distance learning: The EMPOWER Project’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 9(1): 1-10.

Fri 11:00 am - 12:15 pm